Adriana Leiro lives in Miami, Florida. Originally from Venezuela she has distinguished herself for her journey through HR positions around Latin America and United States. Her strength lies in being a curious and courageous woman. She has important advancements in the process of evolving the conversation with leaders from the “intuitive HR function” into a “metrics-oriented” conversation that drives superior business decisions.
Adriana started her journey in Motorola early in the 90’s. “I started growing in the Latin America region until I was offered a position in the United States and eventually adopted this beautiful country as mine. It has been a great journey living here in the US and working for important companies like Motorola, Microsoft, First Data and Bupa”. Adriana explained how she has evolved through her positions. She has a great story and a robust knowledge in the HR field that she kindly shared with us during our conversation.
We would like to know your story. Who is Adriana and what does inspire her?
I was born and raised in Venezuela to where my parents had migrated from Spain. I was raised in a very solid values-oriented family from where I learned discipline, hardworking and long-term commitment, values that have influenced my entire personal and professional life. I am the second of three siblings, the only girl, and I started my story there in a catholic school where I had the opportunity to nurture lifetime friendships.
Motorola was a Company that significantly channeled my career; those where the times were the telecommunications industry started, around the 90’s, so I had the opportunity to be part of the beginning and the evolution of telecommunications in Venezuela and Latin America. At the same time, it was a Company where the HR function was well advanced in the context of a very value-oriented corporation.
Why did you decide to focus your professional path on Human Resources?
I wanted to be a clinical psychologist, but once graduated I realized that in Venezuela mental health was still not recognized as a relevant human need. The working field was not good, so I decided to explore other possibilities in the HR area while studying for my master’s degree. Nowadays, Human Resources has become to me a field that brings the two together via the humanization of the workforce, my personal and professional purpose.
Which have been the points in common throughout your different positions?
There are two points that have been in common throughout the different positions. Firstly. I have always worked in multicultural scope positions, which means enjoying and dealing with people from different cultures and backgrounds. This has required me to be sensitive to different cultural norms and be able to communicate effectively across different cultural contexts. Also, since I have overseen different countries, I have had to adapt to different regulatory environments, business practices and cultural nuances.
Secondly, traveling around the globe has taught me to manage my time effectively, be comfortable with change and uncertainty and be able to adapt to new environments quickly.
Can you tell us about your greatest achievement as Vice President of Human Resources at BUPA?
Three years ago, we started a big project to change the culture, or the way people behaved in BUPA Latin America. We identified the attributes of the new culture that we wanted to adopt and together with the leadership team we created a culture that after two years was a relevant factor that enabled superior business results.
On the other hand, I taught my team to think about numbers and metrics. Sometimes, as human resource professionals we forget to think quantitively. However, step by step, we started to think about real metrics of productivity in HR, so in the end we have established 15 metrics to measure our function results. When you have numbers in front of you, you have a different level of conversation with leaders, a conversation that evolves from an intuitive one to a fact based / productivity one.
How do you define critical thinking, and why do you think it’s important in the workplace?
Critical thinking is important for individuals to solve problems accurately, to innovate, to make more informed decisions, manage risks, communicate effectively, collaborate, so it is the basis of success in the organization. It is difficult to train but it is not impossible, it requires a willingness to learn and the humility to recognize one’s own bias and limitations.
Critical thinking is closely related to the concept of growth mindset, that is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance, rather than being fixed and unchangeable. By adopting a growth mindset individuals can also develop their critical thinking skills and become more adaptable, resilient, and successful in the workplace and in life.
How do you stay up to date with the latest HR technology trends and ensure that the organization you work for is staying ahead of the curve?
I am very curious; I read a lot about industry trends. I attend networking meetings, HR associations, conferences, and webinars; I am very active on LinkedIn and curious about new trends.